Category Archives: Uncategorized

News Coverage: Courts in most states charge juveniles to exist inside the justice system. This movement wants to change that.

News Coverage: Erin B. Logan, Courts in most states charge juveniles to exist inside the justice system. This movement wants to change that., Wash. Post, Aug. 10, 2018.


News Coverage: The Outsize Hold of the Word ‘Welfare’ on the Public Imagination

News Coverage: Emily Badger, The Outsize Hold of the Word ‘Welfare’ on the Public Imagination, N.Y. Times, Aug. 6, 2018.

New Article: The Biology of Inequality

New Article: Lucy A. Jewell, The Biology of Inequality, 95 Denver L. Rev. 609 (2018). Abstract below:

We have known for quite some time that disadvantaged individuals suffer from poorer health outcomes and lower life spans than the advantaged. The disadvantaged do not perform as well on educational tests than their wealthier peers. In some situations, racial discrimination intersects with poverty to worsen these outcomes for minorities. With the notion that poverty becomes implanted in an individual’s genes and brain, science helps explain how these disparate lifespans and variations in cognitive outcomes come to be. This Article collectively refers to these scientific theories as embodied inequality. Embodied inequality explains why it is so difficult for individuals to escape the effects of socioeconomic disadvantage.

Rhetorically, embodied inequality challenges traditional narratives that assume that individual genes and individual behavioral choices are the primary causal agents for social outcomes. Individual action plays a role, but biologists and brain scientists now understand that the environment, along with one’s genes, pulls many of the strings toward particular social outcomes. While social-policy theorists have long advocated for government intervention to create a more robust social safety net and a more nurturing society, this Article is the first to apply these emerging scientific
theories to these legal and policy issues.

Infographic: How the Other Half Eats

Infographic: Ariel Aberg-Riger, How the Other Half Eats, Citylab, July 31, 2018 [Could be shared in class and includes good links at the end.]

New Article: Sovereign Resilience: Reviving Private Sector Economic Institutions in Indian Country

New Article: Robert J. Miller, Sovereign Resilience: Reviving Private Sector Economic Institutions in Indian Country, forthcoming BYU L. Rev. (SSRN Aug. 2018). Abstract below:

Indian country in the United States is incredibly poor. Indian nations desperately need to develop reservation economic activities. Most tribal governments, however, are primarily focused on developing tribally owned businesses. This article argues for Indian peoples and governments to revive and regenerate their centuries’ old tribal institutions that promoted, supported, and protected private sector economic development and economies. Indian country and Indian peoples need to develop economic enterprises and activities in their homelands to ensure their sustainability by creating living wage jobs and adequate housing. Developing private sector economies, in addition to tribal public sector economies, will help create economic diversification on reservations, new businesses and jobs, protect from economic downturns, slow the “brain drain” that all rural areas suffer, and promote more spending which will help Indian country benefit from the “multiplier effect” as more and more money is spent, and re-spent, on reservations.

AALS Call-for-papers: Bridging the Gap: Perspectives on Poverty and its Impact on Childhood 

AALS Call-for-papers: Bridging the Gap:  Perspectives on Poverty and its Impact on Childhood

Poverty is a persistent, pernicious social problem in the United States.  The population that is most affected by poverty because of political/legal anomie is children.  In an effort to better understand the complex and interconnected aspects of children and poverty, the Sections on Poverty Law and Children and the Law will jointly host a session at the 2019 AALS Annual Conference exploring how children’s lives are impacted by, among other poverty-related risks, instability of housing, child welfare and foster care, compromised physical and mental health, inability to access quality education, juvenile justice, and environmental justice.  Panelists will share their unique and cutting-edge scholarship and experiences in one or more of these areas related to children and poverty.”  Professor Luis Zayas, Dean of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and the Robert Lee Sutherland Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy at the University of Texas – Austin, will help frame the discussion by talking about the children of immigrants, poverty, and stress.  Between two and four additional speakers will be selected from this call for papers.  The deadline for submission is Wednesday, August 15, 2018.  Papers and questions should be submitted to Professor Sacha Coupet at and Professor Maryam Ahranjani at

AALS Call-for-papers: Property, Capitalism, and Structural Inequality

Property, Capitalism, and Structural Inequality
Property Law Program at the AALS Annual Meeting
Friday, January 4th, 2019 | 10:30am ‐ 12:15pm

With the rise of the individualized ‘gig economy’, the increasing reliance on financial actors in economic and urban development projects, the privatization of pension arrangements and attacks on unions, and the scandals of inequality and housing crises in many places around the world, it is hard not to recognize that the role of property in globalized forms of capitalism has been shifting over the past decades. These transformations manifest themselves legally in the forms of property, the identities of property holders – and relatedly, the patterns of social life – that are seen as legitimate and as worthy of protection and perpetuation. Newly empowered agents, governance mechanisms, and discourses provide the conceptual and material architecture that support these transformations. This panel attempts to contextualize those shifts by engaging with local, regional, and global instantiations of transnational patterns of property concentration and exclusion, and their justifications.

Please submit your 300 – 400 word abstract submissions in Word or PDF to the Property Section Chair Priya Gupta at with “Submission: AALS PropertyCapitalism” in the subject line. Submissions must be received by August 31, 2018. Preference will be given to abstracts of projects that are substantially complete and that offer novel scholarly insights. Untenured scholars in particular are encouraged to submit their work. Presenters will be responsible for paying their registration fee and hotel and travel expenses.

Reminders for those teaching poverty law and for readers of this blog

I decided it was time to send a couple of administrative reminders.

First, for those teaching poverty law or considering teaching poverty law, I am happy to talk through teaching options, share syllabi and powerpoint slides, etc. Just email me at It is a great class to teach so if your school does not offer it, consider taking it on. You get great students and the teaching options are not bad either. And if you have been teaching the class, my co-authors and I would love your thoughts on things you would like included in the next edition of the Juliet Brodie et al., Poverty Law book. It is also worth noting that our book has recently been joined by David Super’s new book (both of which could be supplemented by the Poverty Law Canon book for those who want more on the back story of the major cases).

Second, as a reminder, this blog feeds into both Facebook (under the Economic Justice Program at American University Washington College of Law banner, and Twitter (under @EzraRosser) for those who prefer to see content through either of those platforms. On Twitter you will see that I post some items–typically news articles as well as things less rigidly within the “poverty law” category, such as immigration and legal academic stuff–that do not appear on the blog and probably have a bit more attitude there than I do on the blog.

Finally, for readers who law professors, there is a poverty law listserv. It is relatively silent most of the year but calls for papers, etc, do sometimes get sent to it. If you want to join the listserv (or want to no longer get such emails), just email me.

Hope you are having a great summer!

Website: Money Diaries

This is not strictly poverty law and most (but not all) postings are from people making middle class and upper class salaries, but the website money diaries might be of interest, particularly to those who teach poverty law. Some version of this activity might be interesting to do in class as a way of getting at the degree to which the poor are judged for their spending.

New Op-ed: “Trump’s work requirements have been tested before. They succeeded.”

New Op-ed: Ron Haskins, Trump’s work requirements have been tested before. They succeeded., Wash. Post, July 26, 2018.